Newcastle Jets (9th) v Brisbane Roar (7th)
Newcastle Jets’ staff and senior players paid the price for last week’s embarrassing 7-0 mauling at the hands of Adelaide United. No less than 5 senior players have been sacked with immediate effect as a result. It’s anyone’s guess whether this will bring the playing group closer together. One thing that’s for certain is that Phil Stubbins is losing the dressing room – Kantarovski and Caravella both rejected offers to wear the captain’s armband out of respect for their sacked colleagues. Brisbane will fancy themselves to notch up another win after their 3-2 victory over Wellington, on Monday. The second half performance was especially impressive. The visitors worked hard on their fitness during the mid-season break and despite the short turnaround should get the points.
Nick’s prediction: Newcastle Jets 1-3 Brisbane Roar
Central Coast Mariners (8th) v Adelaide United (2nd)
Central Coast face what seems like mission impossible as they welcome Adelaide United. The hosts went down 5-1 to a rejuvenated Sydney outfit, a fortnight ago, while Adelaide United steamrolled Newcastle 7-0 in one of the A-League’s biggest victories. It is quite a frightening prospect for the Mariners as they currently hold the worst defensive home record in the league, conceding 2 goals on average at The Blue Tongue. Adelaide United are strengthened by the return of keeper Eugene Galekovic from Socceroos duty while new Spanish import, Miguel Palanca, is likely to get a run out. The Reds have won both meetings between the two sides (this season) and it’s hard to look past a third.
Nick’s prediction: Central Coast Mariners 1-4 Adelaide United
Melbourne Victory (3rd) v Melbourne City (6th)
With this being the final Melbourne derby of the season, huge bragging rights are at stake. The season ledger between the two stands at one apiece with Melbourne City squaring things up with a 1-0 win back in December. Since then, both clubs have recorded identical results (2 wins, a draw, and a loss). Melbourne Victory were last in action a fortnight ago when they led league leaders Perth before letting a two goal advantage slip, eventually drawing 3-3. In further evidence of their newly found confidence, Melbourne City came back from a goal deficit to defeat bottom club Western Sydney 2-1. Young gun, Jacob Melling, and fellow midfielder Aaron Mooy were instrumental in the win and will need to set similar standards if City are to upset their more illustrious town rivals. If gloveman Andrew Redmayne can have a solid enough game (in the absence of injured Tando Velaphi), then I give City a good chance of nicking this one – especially with Victory captain and Socceroo Mark Milligan out through suspension.
Nick’s prediction: Melbourne Victory 1-2 Melbourne City
Perth Glory (1st) v Sydney FC (5th)
From a football purist’s point of view, this is probably the pick of the games this weekend. Sydney looked revitalized following the mid-season break as they tore apart a poor Mariners outfit 5-1, a fortnight ago. New signings (and cousins), Mickael Tavares and Jacques Faty, fitted seamlessly into Graham Arnold’s system but they are sure to come under closer scrutiny against league leaders Perth. The Glory are not top of the bunch for nothing and they showed their fighting qualities last time out to draw 3-3 against the Victory. The home side may be asked to dig deep again as they are missing key man Rostyn Griffiths through suspension while Chris Harold sits out through injury. I expect goals in this game with perhaps Sydney FC going another game on the road without defeat.
Nick’s prediction: Perth Glory 2-2 Sydney FC